Kenyon's Shag (Phalacrocorax kenyoni)


Monotypic? Very poorly known and only identified from sub-fossil deposits in the outer Aleutians. Has also been called Amchitka Cormorant.
It is not clear whether it is still extant nor whether it is indeed a valid form.
In 1999, Sievert Rohwer (Burke Museum, University of Washington) and colleagues examined 224 skeletal specimens of North Pacific cormorants and concluded that the characters used by Seigel-Causey to distinguish Kenyon's Shag were not distinctive. Moreover, they concluded that the three type specimens of Kenyon's Shag were in all likelihood Pelagic Cormorants (P. pelagicus).


Siegel-Causey (1991) stated that kenyoni is diagnosable based on "its small size and by six [really seven] autapomorphic skeletal characters." This conclusion was not upheld by the rigorous analyses performed by Rohwer et al..


Where and When

Known only from skeletal remains from Amchitka in the Outer Aleutions.
The holotype specimen for P. kenyoni is housed at the United States National Museum (USNM 431164), and the two paratypes are at the University of Washington Burke Museum (UWBM 18613, 18614).

Photographs on the web




Rohwer, S., Filardi, C.E., Bostwick, K. S. and A. T. Peterson (1999) A critical evaluation of Kenyon's shag (Phalacrocorax [stictocarbo] kenyoni). The Auk: Vol. 117, No. 2, pp. 308–320.

Siegel-Causey, D. (1991) Systematics and biogeography of North Pacific shags, with a description of a new species. Univ. Kans. Mus. Nat. Hist. Occ. Pap. No. 140.

Siegel-Causey, D., C. Lefevre, and A. B. Savinet (1991) Historical diversity of cormorants and shags from Amchitka Island, Alaska. Condor 93:840-852.

Copyright © 2005 All rights reserved. Angus Wilson

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